Sunday, December 20, 2009

It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This!

Today, I walked to Castaway Island Preserve on Jacksonville's intra-coastal.   No kids.  No husband.  Just me & Molly the dog.   You need to know, I was a reluctant dog owner who went through a plethora of emotions for several years prior to accepting the role of care taking for another living being.   I have often felt that I've had my fill of being care giver to many generations of my family.  And it was a big step for my heart to open again to another creature.  My personal practice was a large part of my ability to step out of my comfort zone.

With Molly beside me, I sat on a bench in Castaway & stared at the Florida water & sky thinking - "it doesn't get any better than this."  All the while, I breathed these words sent by Jenny Otto yesterday -

Inhale, and God approaches you. Hold the inhalation, and God remains with you. Exhale, and you approach God. Hold the exhalation, and surrender to God. 
Krishnamacharya is recognized & honored for bringing yoga to the west.   He is the father of T.K.V. Desikachar who wrote one the first books I read about classical yoga & often return to it to re-read.   In addition to teaching his son, Krishnamacharya also taught B.K.S. Iyengar as well as Patthabi Jois who developed Ashtanga Yoga.

Jenny shared Krishnamacharya's words while she sat inside her home staring at a winter wonderland - the blizzard of 2009 that has touched Maryland and other states.   One of the great things about a blizzard is it gives you time to "just be."   Everyone settles down & allows nature to be the excuse for a reprieve & much needed rest.

Here in FL, we don't get too many weather excuses to be quiet, light a fire, and rest.   So we have to give ourselves permission.   That's what my walk to Castaway Island Preserve was for me - a brief retreat from the world.   Time to "just be."   Inhales and exhales.  Seeing the beauty.

As Molly & I walked out of Castaway, the world came rushing back in.   The race of car engines & loud stereos on San Pablo Road, dogs barking hidden behind fences - all of this jolted me back.

During our times of repose, we often discover peace, ease, and a lightness of being.   Our work is how to hang on to this connection as we re-join the rest of society.  It's our practice.  And realizing even with the distractions, obligations & commitments, we can keep placing one foot in front of the other and continue the journey.   If we are fortunate, we have a faithful companion beside us.

Walking Molly home, I recalled the words on a stained & tattered piece of paper that now hangs in my garage.  I received this paper nearly 40 years ago - as a gift at a childhood friend's birthday party.  Did the mother who gave these rolled up scrolls with wise sayings even dream that any of us would carry these papers with us through a lifetime?   Did she have any inkling of the long term effect of her decision? I'd like to think that she did - that she saw great potential.   Here are the words...

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow.
Don't walk behind me, I may not lead.
Walk beside me and just be my friend.
                                           - Camus

It doesn't get any better than this!  Inhale.  Exhale.